The Nile enters Egypt from Sudan and flows north for about 1,545 km (960 mi) to the Mediterranean Sea. For its entire length from the southern border to Cairo, the Nile flows through a narrow valley lined by cliffs. Lake Nasser, a huge reservoir formed by the Aswān High Dam, extends south across the border with Sudan. The lake is about 480 km (300 mi) long and is about 16 km (10 mi) across at its widest point. About two thirds of the lake lies in Egypt. South of a point near the town of Idfu, the Nile Valley is rarely more than 3 km (2 mi) wide. From Idfu to Cairo, the valley is about 23 km (14 mi) in width, with most of the arable portion on the western side.
In the vicinity of Cairo the valley merges with the delta, a fan-shaped plain, the perimeter of which occupies about 250 km (155 mi) of the Mediterranean coastline. Silt deposited by the Rosetta (Arabic, Rashid), Damietta (Arabic, Dumyat), and other tributaries has made the delta the most fertile region in the country. However, the Aswān High Dam has reduced the flow of the Nile, causing the salty waters of the Mediterranean to erode land along the coast near the Nile. A series of four shallow, brackish lakes extend along the seaward extremity of the delta. Another larger lake, Lake Qārūn, is situated inland in the desert north of the town of Al Fayyūm.
Geographically and traditionally, the Nile Valley is divided into two regions, Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt, the former consisting of the delta area and the latter comprising the valley south of Cairo.
Although Egypt has about 2,900 km (1,800 mi) of coastline, two thirds of which are on the Red Sea, indentations suitable as harbours are confined to the delta. The Isthmus of Suez, which connects the Sinai Peninsula with the African mainland, is traversed from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Suez by the Suez Canal. "Egypt" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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